Beijing, Akual.com – A research team made up of Chinese and foreign scientists accurately measured the mass of the Milky Way and revealed that its mass is leaner than expected, or about 550 billion times the mass of the Sun.
The findings were recently published in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notice.
The latest estimate of the Milky Way’s mass is nearly half the average value measured by other research groups, which is recorded at about 1 trillion times the mass of the sun.
“Our latest findings suggest that the Milky Way galaxy may be ‘leaner’ than we previously thought,” said Xue Xiangxiang, lead research team member and researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC. ).
“This means that there is much less dark matter that is not bright but has a gravitational force in the galaxy than was initially thought.”
Xue said that mass is very important for understanding the dynamics of the Milky Way. However, there is a high degree of uncertainty in the estimates due to limited observations.
In the study, the team of scientists drew conclusions based on data from the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), China’s leading optical telescope, and the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite.
The large sample size of spectroscopic data provided by LAMOST is one of the main advantages of this study over studies from other research groups, Xue said.
“Not only is it large in number and scope, the sample also records the three-dimensional (3D) position, 3D velocity and amount of metal of each star,” Xue explained.
(As’ad Syamsul Abidin)